June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.280.1 - 11.280.10
Blend it! Introduction
In the engineering and engineering technology community we continuously strive to improve the education we provide for our students. A recent innovation in transforming the classroom experience for our students is “blended learning,” a hybrid classroom model that includes significant online learning activities. At the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) a Blended Learning initiative is attempting to take advantage of what has been learned in our 25 years experience with distance learning. The Blended Learning initiative combines the best practices of our distance courses with the best practices of our campus courses to create a better overall learning experience than either format alone can provide. Underlying our Blended Learning initiative is the introduction of more learner-centered educational practices. 1, 2
Learner-centered teaching focuses attention on what the student is learning, how the student is learning, the conditions under which the student is learning, whether the student is retaining and applying the learning, and how current learning positions the student for future learning. 1, 3 Learner-centered education thus places the student at the center of their education. And it begins with understanding the educational contexts from which a student comes. It continues with the instructor continuously evaluating the student's progress toward learning objectives. By helping the student acquire the basic skills to learn, it ultimately provides a basis for learning throughout life. It places the responsibility for learning on the student while the instructor assumes responsibility for facilitating the student’s education. This approach strives to be individualistic, flexible, competency-based, varied in methodology, and not always constrained by time or place. 4
In blended learning the faculty combines both classroom and online instruction to create engaging, leaner-centered forms of teaching and learning. The term “blended learning” has gained considerable currency in recent years as a description of particular forms of teaching with technology. 4-6 Blended learning aims to unite the best of classroom teaching and learning with the best of online teaching and learning. Interest in blended learning has been growing as more and more universities become accustomed to using a courseware management system, and as academic leaders increasingly endorse active learning with the effective use of instruction technology for the following reasons: 5
1. Learner-centered models of instruction are moving to center stage. 2. The contentious debate over “classroom vs. distance education” has subsided. 3. Courseware management systems are widely available. 4. Today’s students are knowledgeable about and comfortable with online communication. 5. Both faculty and students are “time starved” and crave greater flexibility in scheduling work.
This study describes experiences that promote a learner-centered environment where students are engaged and interactive with each other, and where openness to a diversity of ideas is supported through a blended-learning format in the classroom. More particularly, this paper examines an asynchronous learning environment that capitalizes on blended-learning in teaching a technical course in plastics technology.
Kim, S., & Fasse, R. (2006, June), Blend It! Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1129
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